Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Circles of Influence

One of the more notable tourist attractions in Brazos County can be found on the campus of Texas A&M University, in the form of the George H.W. Bush (41) Presidential Library and Museum. My parents and I spent the morning there, learning about the origins and career of this remarkable statesman.

Lulu joined us, and was suitably impressed with everything except the orientation film. She felt the need to shriek like a macaw talk all the way through that. Luckily, the only other occupants of the theater were three gentlemen who had two or even three generations' experience with tiny shriekers.

I was also suitably impressed with the journey and achievements of this former President of the United States. He emerged early as a leader on sports teams, during service as a military pilot during WWII, as an aspiring businessman, and later on as a politician. During his political career he served as a diplomat to China, an ambassador and as director of the CIA before entering the White House as Vice President in 1980, and eventually as President in 1988.

All along the way, George Bush continued to use his circle of influence to reach an expanding number of people and accomplish a growing list of achievements.

As I look around me, I realize I have my own small circle of influence, and in fact it's probably bigger than I even know. When we had to call 911 last month, I had a neighbor knock on my door within 5 minutes, and another send a quick text message to see if we needed anything. We are all affected by what happens to one another.

So what to do with my circle of influence? My children are my first, inner circle of influence. I am inspired all over again to be intentional about what I do with them. Raising children is a huge responsibility, but it would be fairly simple to back off and leave them to their own devices for much of the time. My neighbors and other friends are the bigger circle, and I desire to be a positive force in those lives. That also takes intention, because what I WANT to do is stay in my house and play games on my computer.

But I ran into a casual friend last week at Chick-fil-a, and we both agreed that while it's easy to sit in our home and enjoy the self-directed life, it's not really healthy in the long run. We need to exercise our circles of influence to get each other out of our respective ruts!

What's your circle of influence? How can you be proactive within that circle? I'd love to know what you do to be a positive influence on that group.

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